Pierre Balmain and Ruth Ford, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, November 1947
Ruth Elizabeth Ford (1911-2009)
When Cecil Beaton's biographer Hugo Vickers visited her at the Dakota in 1981, she detained him at the door of her apartment. "Now, there's something I must tell you which embarrasses me very much," she said. "Cecil once described me as one of the 10 most beautiful women in the world." She then slipped back into her apartment and the door closed behind her.
Taken from her obituary as it appeared in The Daily Telegraph on August 17, 2009.
Portrait of Charles Henri Ford in Poppy Field painted by his lover Pavel Tchelitchew, 1933
The Brookhaven, Mississippi native had originally followed her brother, the artist Charles Henri Ford, to New York in the 1930s.
After I saw New York, what the hell was I going to do in Mississippi? Marry a shoe salesman?, she once asked.
Aside from her numerous modeling, film, and stage credits Ruth Ford was better known for the salon that she created in her apartment in the famed Dakota building. It was here that she entertained literary greats such as Faulkner, Albee, and McNally to name but a few. It was also here that a chance meeting between Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents would lead to their collaboration with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story. And finally, it was here she would become a recluse - speaking to friends only by telephone. It's easier this way, she said. I don't bother to dress.
Trailer for Adventure in Iraq (1943) with Ruth Ford as Tess Torrence
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